Sabah Convention Bureau is Malaysiaâ€™s newest state convention bureau, just set up earlier this month. It is headed by industry veteran Gordon Yapp.
Sabah is now the third Malaysian state to boast its own convention bureau, after Sarawak and Penang. Sabah Convention Bureau reports to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah.
Yapp, who was previously the general manager of Sabah Tourism Board, spoke to TTGmice on the sidelines of the inaugural ASEAN MICE Conference in Chiang Mai on January 24.
He explained that the bureau was formed by the state government to drive business events into the destination, in anticipation of the Sabah International Convention Centre which is scheduled to open in early 2019.
The stateâ€™s first convention centre, being developed by Yayasan Sabah Group, covers some 6.1 hectares and spans five levels with a total built-up area of 92,000m2. It has the capacity to host up to 5,000 delegates.
Yapp said his to-do list includes building a strong team, gearing the bureau up for business lead acquisition, and developing marketing collaterals. He added that destination promotion efforts will first be focused on digital marketing.
â€śWe want to attract regional and Asian corporate incentives and association meetings of up to 3,000 delegates. The key sectors we wish to attract for meetings here in Sabah are related to biodiversity, marine life, education, medical, science and the arts (areas the state is strong in),â€ť he shared.